June/July 2009

HR Outlook

Match-making: Aboriginal Peoples and the mining sector

By M. Sturk

Take advantage of the possibilities

Despite the current industry lull, shortages of skilled mining professionals are expected to persist in the medium to long term. This is because of the large number of baby boomers retiring and individuals leaving mining to work in other sectors that will have to be replaced. Through its labour market forecasting work, the Mining Industry Human Resources Council continues to forecast the need for great numbers of skilled workers across Canada over the next decade.

“The recent economic downturn has merely lowered projections of the number of skilled workers the mining industry will need to replace,” said Ryan Montpellier, executive director, MiHR. “But we’re asking employers to keep moving at full steam on inclusion initiatives; the shortage still stands in the tens of thousands and we collectively need to start working on a solution now.”

As commodity prices recover over the next few years, mining companies will be under renewed pressure to recruit and retain individuals with the appropriate skill sets and motivation to work in the industry. MiHR is collaborating with the industry to develop and execute hiring programs to attract a non-traditional workforce, including Canadian youth, women, visible minorities and Aboriginal people to participate in this high-paying sector.

Aboriginal men and women are ideally positioned not only to take advantage of these career opportunities, but also to assume a leading role in the industry. Many Aboriginal communities are located within close proximity to current mines and exploration sites across Canada.

Overcoming barriers to employment

The mining industry — together with Aboriginal groups, government departments and community colleges — is working to help Aboriginal men and women obtain the skills necessary to pursue  careers in the mining sector. In this regard, the industry has recently released two resources geared towards inclusion — the “Mining Industry Human Resources Guide for Aboriginal Communities” and “Mastering Aboriginal Inclusion in Mining.”

Creating inclusive workplaces

Mastering Aboriginal Inclusion in Mining is a rigorous management tool developed to educate and equip mining companies with the knowledge necessary to recruit, retain and advance more Aboriginal workers.

“Mining is one of the largest employers of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada and well positioned to be the industry leader that will help advance inclusion in Canada,” said Kelly Lendsay, president and CEO, Aboriginal Human Resource Council (AHRC).

Mastering Aboriginal Inclusion (MAI) is a world-renowned program strategy developed by AHRC, Canada’s leading innovator in Aboriginal recruitment, retention and advancement. It is comprised of reference modules, workshops and in-company training and assessment tools, and is designed to help transform organizations to be inclusive. MAI in Mining is the first customized series of Aboriginal inclusion resources for the mining sector developed in partnership with MiHR. The resource modules and MAI in mining workshops help companies become employers of choice for Aboriginal talent.

The workshops and in-company training are available through the AHRC website.

Engaging communities

The Mining Industry Human Resources Guide for Aboriginal Communities provides students, teachers, career counsellors and leaders in Aboriginal communities with detailed information on the numerous career opportunities available in Canada’s mining industry, as well as the training and education opportunities associated with those jobs. Divided into four sections that cover the main areas of mining — exploration, development, operations and site rehabilitation — the guide describes the activities, opportunities and training programs related to all occupations in the mining industry. The guide is also available online at www.aboriginalmining.ca.

Making the match

Industry, communities and individuals benefit when employment is available locally. Connecting workers to jobs in their communities just makes sense. We invite you to make use of these resources to facilitate the inclusion of Aboriginal Peoples in the mining industry.

Melanie Sturk, director, Attraction, Retention, and Transition at the Mining Industry Human Resources Council, is responsible for the initiatives that encourage new workers, particularly those from underrepresented groups, to engage in mining careers and that support the industry with enhancing workplace diversity.

Post a comment


PDF Version